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The HR consultant: all you need to know

The HR consultant has become a central figure in all types of businesses, thanks to their expertise and understanding of how this department works. 


In this article, we will explain in detail what their role is within organisations and what you need to do to become one. 



What is an HR consultant?


Human resources consultants are external professionals that companies occasionally hire to resolve or meet a specific need in the HR department. Often, their purpose is to deliver solutions or recommendations to team leaders or the organisation as a whole. 


Generally, there are two reasons why companies hire a consultant:


  • It is a small business without a dedicated HR team or the necessary experience to undertake important projects. The company may require the services of an external professional in this situation.
  • It is a large company, with an HR team, but it wants to get an external professional’s perspective when faced with a particular challenge or project. This consultant will offer their point of view without being “tainted” by internal politics or personal relationships, etc.



The HR consultant profile: qualifications and skills


To become a human resources consultant, first you need a degree in employment relations and human resources. You can then build on this with postgraduate qualifications focused on department management and leadership.


However, experience is key. Consultants usually have a long career behind them, conferring the authority and expertise required to advise companies on how to manage their HR department. Remember that organisations hire consultants to fill the gaps they have internally. 


The HR consultant profile should therefore fulfil a number of basic criteria, experience being one of the most important. Before you dive into this profession, it is important to critically analyse your own CV and decide if you are genuinely qualified.


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An HR consultant’s duties


Some of the most important tasks an HR consultant will perform include: 



Baseline analysis and evaluation 


One of the HR consultant’s crucial tasks consists in carrying out a detailed analysis of the department’s current situation, its procedures and policies, etc. This will involve gathering information and delivering it in the form of a report. 





The HR consultant advises and guides senior management on any challenges or problems faced by the department. 


It is also the consultant’s job to propose improvements and offer recommendations on how to perfect the organisation’s current processes. To do this, they may develop, review, and implement new policies when necessary.





The consultant’s role does not stop once they’ve submitted their proposal and have left the building. On the contrary, it is essential to follow up and evaluate any changes that have been introduced in the organisation. In this way, they will be able to make any necessary alterations and guarantee the desired results. 



Legal compliance 


Complying with employment law can be complex, especially if we don’t have an internal specialist (which is often the case). The company can delegate the responsibility of complying with all legal obligations to the consultant. 





Another of the HR consultant’s functions is to train the company’s teams in new expertise or to adopt new procedures.



What does an HR consultant earn?


We’ve consulted a few resources to find out how much an HR consultant earns. In Spain, for example, GlassDoor puts the average figure at €46.876 per year.


In the UK, according to Change Board, the average salary is £41,186. However, a junior consultant can expect to start at £29,000, while senior workers with substantial experience can earn up to £58,000 annually. 



How to be a great HR consultant?


All the above demonstrates that to become an HR consultant you must fulfil certain criteria:


  • Sufficient, proven experience as an HR consultant.
  • HR project management experience.
  • In depth expertise of HR principles, functions, methods, and best practices. 
  • Strong knowledge of investigation and analysis methodology
  • Experience with IT programs, especially HR software. 
  • Ability to design strategies and formulate business plans.  
  • Problem solving capabilities.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Teamworking skills.


Any relevant qualifications above and beyond this will always prove valuable.  

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